health

How to start being healthy?

image3.jpeg
 

        There's two kinds of people concerning health: the extremely healthy ones -they workout, care about health and know how to eat clean, do yoga/stretching/meditation, they don’t drink alcohol, don't smoke...- and the ones who aren’t healthy at all -they don’t workout or very rarely, eat out almost every day and drink alcohol several times a week, don’t care how to eat healthy or don’t have much nutritional information...-. It’s a bit cliché but almost always true! I find rather rare the people who are in the middle, also because I noticed some people in the second category actually care for their health but don’t know where to start and are afraid to have to commit to very strict rules.

 

        I had a roommate who've always had a great metabolism all her teenage, therefore never cared much about how food would affect her size. And suddenly as she was in her 20s she wasn’t happy that she started gaining weight (nothing wrong about not being the fittest! If you’re happy and feel good that way it's perfect :) I'm just telling you about this one story). So what did she do? She went to buy “healthy food” that she doesn’t love as an effort to work on her health at the grocery store: roasted salted nuts and all made porridge with chocolate milk... see the problem? She ate foods that she didn't like because she thought she was making an effort but obviously, these foods aren't healthy or good to make you fit, so all she was doing was frustrating herself! We hear “nuts” and “porridge” are healthy, but if we don’t know why, we WILL make the wrong choices at the grocery store. It’s important to educate yourself when it comes to nutrition so you know you can actually have pleasure eating healthy (pizza’s aren’t that bad, even when they’re not cauliflower crusted, as long as you care about the toppings -you know cheese and meats aren’t the best- or how often you eat them) and that you don’t have to buy the so-called “diet” foods that you don’t really like AND aren’t working.

        Some people would say this is obvious but honestly, I see so many people that lack basic info on foods that I think it's important to help them know the basis -where to start- for a healthy life! Not everyone was born with parents who could teach them that ;).

 
FullSizeRender.jpg
IMG_0106.JPG
 

         HEALTHY DOESN'T NECESSARILY MEAN SKINNY

 

        Coming back at the example of nuts: why are they healthy? They contain lots of good fats and extremely necessary nutrients (potassium, magnesium, vitamins, iron, calcium, ...) but the downside of it, is that they also contain so many calories (just a little less than oil, which is pure fat), which is great if you want to gain weight in a healthy way (I have many friends who are naturally very thin and try to gain weight eating a lot of fast foods and candies... Which doesn't work because they get sick of it, and it gives them poor skin condition most of the time). But if your goal is to lose weight, maybe you want to limit the nuts a little (don't completely erase them from your diet, remember the nutrients they have).

        As another example, fresh fruit juices are great and bring loads of vitamins quickly, but as I wrote in my article “juices vs smoothies”, you don’t have the fibers in it to help slow down the absorption of sugar... No problem at all if you don’t care (although it can mess with your blood sugar levels and so your energy) but again, if your goal is to lose a few pounds and that you think drinking juices will help you do that, maybe simply switch for fresh fruits or smoothies, where there are fibers to help fill fuller and slow the sugar absorption. There's no need to quit on natural sugar, it satisfies your sweet tooth and fruits aren't very high in calories, just be careful with the way you eat them :).

        Same goes for olive oil and other oils, agave syrup, coconut products, granola and granola bars, peanut butter, ...

 

        So remember: people can be healthy without being skinny (so don’t judge too quickly), and depending if your goal is to simply improve your health, or lose or gain weight, there is not just one answer and you might want to make adjustments to your own diet.

 
IMG_1901.JPG
IMG_1900.JPG
 

        PLANT-BASED UNPROCESSED FOODS AS A PRIORITY

 

        Instead of searching for “low fat”, “low sugar”, or removing all the carbs from your diet while still eating highly processed “diet foods”, you might want to go back to a simpler way of eating. Because your body needs nutrients and vitamins, and the more processed the less of these you have in it (maybe you've heard of the term "empty calories", which is when you eat something that doesn't bring anything necessary to your body). Always have fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet, and find ways to cook them that pleases you without wasting all the benefits (maybe try not to deep fry them every day haha). Also include basic plant-based foods in your diet that will help you feel full in a healthy way: rice, sweet potatoes, potatoes, beans, chickpea, lentils, ... These unprocessed foods should be your staples if you want to change your health, then of course, it's up to you to make it delicious in a way that is still good for you :), like chickpea curry with rice, lentil dahl with sweet potato, whole grain pasta with homemade tomato sauce, ... there are quite a few options to play with!

        Of course, not everyone has time to cook after a whole day working, so don't feel guilty about not being able to eat fresh produces every day. But for example take a look at the amount of sodium in a jar of pasta sauce you can buy at the supermarket: there’s often way too much salt, while if you simply make your own with simple ingredients (garlic, olive oil, tomatoes, onions, ... and a dash of salt and pepper) you’ll never reach that amount of salt. Sometimes it’s also a lot cheaper to make it yourself, and it doesn't take too much time in that case!

        So think about it when you buy all made foods: could you make it yourself? Is there ingredients in it that are unhealthy and you could avoid using if you made it yourself?

 
IMG_1457.JPG
IMG_1462.JPG
 

        WHAT TO LOOK FOR ON THE LABELS

 

        When you do buy processed food -because there are good processed foods! Like oats for example, or canned beans- take a look at the label. Here are the few things to look for when you start your health journey (there’s more to look at, but these are the priorities in my opinion).

  •  There must be as little names you don’t understand as possible. You know, the scientific names you don’t really know what they mean? Well let’s try to stay away from them if you can. For example, I sometimes used canned chickpeas instead or dry ones because I'm in a rush, and when I read the ingredients on the can at wholefoods, some only had chickpeas, water and salt, while others had "calcium chloride" in it. So keep it as short as possible, if it's not necessary, I don't buy it :).
  • If there is salt and/or sugar (note that most of the names finishing in “ose” have sugar - glucose, dextrose, fructose, ...) in the three first names on the ingredient list, it’s not a good sign (unless you're buying salt lol): the ingredients are classified by quantity, so the higher the name, the more percentage of it is in your product. I personally never buy any food that has added sugar in it, except if it's a particular cheat day (if I use ketchup for example). The reason is that I believe sugar is addictive (a few experiences proved it) and since I've quit added sugar I don't really crave it anymore. I also feel that natural sugars in fruits and dried fruits is way enough for my taste (since I've stopped eating added sugar, even from agave syrup and other health foods, I can taste it better, and some foods I used to love taste way too sweet for me now).
  • Sodium: the problem with sodium is that it's often hiding in your everyday food (example: breakfast cereals) because it's a good preservative. Therefore, in general if you eat less processed foods you'll also reduce your intake of sodium, but if you want an indication of how much sodium is too much sodium for a food, here's what I found: it has to contain less than 140milligrams of sodium per serving (number from USDA's recommendations), or from 300mg to 120mg per 100g of food (120 is best obviously). Note that I don't count my grams and milligrams and all these numbers, as I say eating healthy shouldn't be complicated and if you simply reduce processed foods you should be ok :) but it's a good indication to start and understand. But don't panic, it's easy!

 

 
IMG_1329.JPG
IMG_2551.JPG
 

        DON’T FEEL FRUSTRATED!

 

        It's important to indulge a little sometimes! If you’re unhappy with what you eat, are you really healthy? Mental health is also very important!

        It’s all about balance, remember you can't be perfect! As long as you’re making better choices everyday and that you’re informed about what you eat, you can of course drink wine with your friends and have a little fast-food sometimes, after all we only live once ;)!

 

 
IMG_0908.JPG
IMG_3615.JPG

 

Follow me on Bloglovin'

 
Follow

4 plant-based places to eat in LA

cafegratitude2.jpeg

 

        I talked about Backyard Bowls in my last post because it was my go-to place while I was staying in Santa Monica, but I wanted to add additional places where I enjoyed the food in LA. As I've been pretty busy (that explains also the lack of activity here), there may be "best-vegan-restaurants-in-LA" missing because these are the ones I got a chance to go to in between photo shoots and castings and they were all located close to my neighborhood, so don't hesitate to give me other names for next time.

        Also please note that except the first and last ones, the pictures in this article aren't from me because I didn't always take some when I ate at these places (whether it was because I was too busy enjoying the food and my friends' company or because the light wasn't good enough).

 

  • Cafe Gratitude - Venice

        I discovered this place thanks to my amazing roommate Samantha as she was mentioning to me her favorite places to order food in the neighborhood.  She warned me "it's VERY healthy" haha, as we both know that sometimes the places we like are too healthy for our friends.

The particularity about this place is that the waiters are asking you the question of the day that is about your dreams/happiness/feelings... -you don't have to answer- and each item on the menu has a positive affirmation (example "you are whole", "you are humble"). Some find it positive and warm, some find it cheesy. In that case, you can always order delivery ;)!

If you like "VERY healthy" food and a "yogi" atmosphere, this place is for you. My favorites are the Macro Bowl and their Beer-Battered Young Coconut (tastes exactly like fried calamari, I was shocked). I also loved their November Pumpkin pie! And for their drinks, my favorite was the Grace smoothie (coconut based and verrrry creamy).

 

Cafe Gratitude website (they have many different locations in LA)

Pictures from their Instagram:

 

  • Veggie Grill - Santa Monica

        This one is for all those who think vegan eaters = healthy eaters! We actually eat junk food too, and it can be super tasty! Veggie Grill is the best vegan junk food place that I've tried yet and I'm torn between wanting them to open a restaurant in NYC because it would be great or wishing they never do because I would put on 10kg right away (nothing bad with gaining weight if you're happy guys ;), just that my personal goal is to stay fit)! I love that they use Beyond Burger from Beyond Meat for their hamburgers and that they aren't too expensive at all!

My fave: the classic VG Beyond Burger!

 

Veggie Grill website (they also have many locations in LA)

Pictures from their Instagram:

 

  • True Food Kitchen - Santa Monica

        This one isn't an entire vegan place but they had such great quality vegetables that I had to put it here. It's great to go with people who eat differently (healthy/less healthy, plant-based/not plant-based) because they have a great option for everything! I loved their Charred Cauliflower and their Ancient Grains Bowl! My friend who isn't vegan had one of their pizza and loved it! I would definitely go back often as you really feel the quality of the ingredients.

 

True Food Kitchen website

Pictures from their Instagram:

 

  • Sage Bistro - Culver City

        Different people had messaged me about this restaurant but I only had one occasion to go with my friend Brian and l had a great experience.

I ordered the Bollywood Bowl (have you noticed I love bowls?) and there were so many different flavors, the quantity was perfect (aka very filling haha, it was served with flatbread too). I also had one of their smoothies (don't remember which one, just that there were dates in it) and it was also so satisfying. I wish I could have been several times to test everything on their menu but I'll have to wait next time I come to LA :).

 

Sage Bistro website

Pictures from their Instagram:

 

Follow me on Bloglovin'

 
Follow
cafegratitude1.jpeg

Healthy Fast food: Backyard Bowls

image9.jpeg

 

       There is plenty of healthy plant based food in LA so I knew it would be a satisfying discovery for each meal coming here, but I was also sure that I'd go back to Backyard Bowls. I discovered it 2 years ago when I was staying for the first time in LA, and I would walk more than 1h back and forth just to go to their place in WeHo!! Haha, yes I like to walk, but I also love their food. Is it an extraordinary culinary experience? Probably not. But it is exactly the way I conceive food: healthy, abundant, plant based and simple but still with lots of flavors.

They have several locations and the pictures in this article are from their Santa Monica location which is the area I am staying.

 

image3.jpeg
image2-1.jpeg
image1-1.jpeg

 

       The Menu

       Is simple: smoothie bowls (acai, pitaya, green bowls), smoothies, porridge bowls, toasts and grain bowls. That's it. The bases of a plant-based diet. I told you I like to eat a "high carb low fat" kinda diet and I feel like that's what I can easily get without thinking about it too much at Backyard Bowls because the carbs are in the center of everything (and carbs are definitely life). And you have quantity on your plate (actually in your bowl) which is also one of my criteria when I go to a restaurant: how much food will I have on my plate?

The other thing I like is that when you eat in, you get a proper bowl, a proper spoon: no plastic and no waste. It's something I was missing when I tried to have acai bowls in New York. Maybe the next improvement would be to also give a proper cup for the water fountain but I know it's not always easy to organize it.

Finally, it's fast food: you order at the counter and wait for your food that you can eat in or take away. It's really nice to know that you have healthy and yummy options when you are in a hurry.

 

       What Do I personally order?

       I generally go for a large (yes large, and the portion is huge! but we know as plant-based eaters that we tend to eat a lot more in quantities, especially on HCLF) Island bowl, which is my favorite of their smoothie bowls: there is mango in it, which is one of my favorite fruits, and coconut milk! It's a simple tropical bowl and I love how they aren't cheap on the granola compared to other places! It's very hot in LA so I love how a smoothie bowl cools me from the inside.

I was also very curious to test their grain bowls because macro bowls are really my favourite way to eat, and I am always more attracted to savory meals than sweets. So I built my own: green rice, hummus, hot sauce, cauliflower + chickpeas, sweet potato puree, shaved carrot, avocado, shallots and pickled beets, sprouts, micro greens and toasted almonds. And it was delicious! Like, really delicious! I really felt like I am going to make efforts to cook the same way at home because it is accessible and it is a way to eat that I would like to share.

 

image4.jpeg
image8.jpeg
image7.jpeg
image1.jpeg
 Santa Monica Neighborhood

Santa Monica Neighborhood

image6.jpeg
image5.jpeg
 

Backyard Bowls

Website. They have many locations so check if there's one close to you!

 

Follow me on Bloglovin'

 
Follow
 
image9 copy.jpeg

Simple foods: Summer Rolls

 

        I don't think you're ever going to see complicated recipes on The French Glow. I like to share simple foods because not everyone is able to cook for hours, especially me as I am still learning about cooking and how not to ruin every meal I try to make haha! But also because I want to show that eating healthy isn't complicated if you don't want it to be.

        Summer rolls are my favorite at the moment, perfect for the summer as it's fresh and simple to make, eat and digest. I like mixes of flavors so that's why I love sushi rolls/sandwiches/vegan burgers/currys... Because you can have lots of different flavors in just one bite. What I also like with summer rolls is that it looks rather beautiful, and to me, the pleasure of the eyes reinforces the pleasure of the taste!

 

 

Recipe

This isn't MY personal recipe (I didn't invent it) but it's the one I love to make :)

For the Dipping sauce

 

  • 1-2 table spoons of peanut butter (chose one that has only peanuts as ingredients!)
  • Warm water (depending how you want the consistency to be)
  • Lime juice (optional)
  • Sriracha (depending how spicy you like it)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 table spoon soy sauce

For the summer Rolls

To make about 4 summer rolls

  • Rice paper (usually found in the Asian section of your supermarket)
  • 4-8 big lettuce leafs
  • 1/2 a cucumber
  • 2 medium carrots
  • Rice noodles (optional)
  • Tofu
  • Mint

And you can add mango and avocado which I didn't add today but that I love to use!

 

        Cut the cucumber and carrots (and mango and avocado) in thin long slices. Cut the tofu in thin slices and cook on a pan with a little bit of olive oil while you cook the noodles. When the tofu and noodles are ready, start making the rolls with 1 or 2 lettuce leafs for each roll and a bit of everything else you prepared (make sure not to put too much noodles to be able to test everything), add fresh mint and roll! You can cut them like I did as I find it easier to eat. For the dressing, simply mix everything slowly until it has the right consistency. Et voilà. It's really quick and simple to make!

 

 

Follow me on Bloglovin'

 
Follow
 

What to eat after a workout

image8.JPG

 

     Why is it important to eat something after you worked out?

        When you workout, you use your glycogen storage for fuel -that's why if you push yourself to the maximum you can feel a bit dizzy and like your muscles don't respond to you anymore- and some of the proteins in your muscle get broken down. Just after working out you need to refill this glycogen storage and repair you muscle for better recovery and be able to workout more often. You also need to rehydrate yourself after sweating.

     What do you need and when do you need it?

         The above means you mostly need carbs to restore glycogen and proteins for muscle growth. It should be within 30-45mn after your workout for maximum effect and it is best to limit fats just after working out: some studies show that fats slow down the absorption of the nutrients you need fast after working out (some others say that even if it slows it down, the digestion is still effective and it doesn't affect the benefits of the carbs and proteins, and some people also need some fats to satisfy their hunger more, so adding healthy fats is up to you, but it isn't the most important at that moment).

 

        Here is what I personally eat after a workout and other options for you:

 

     If I am in a hurry - Protein smoothies

 

          Base:

  • 2 bananas
  • A scoop of plant-based protein powder (I use Vega - French Vanilla shake)
  • A cup of plant-based milk.

Bananas are recommended by many professionals for a post workout meal because they are a great source of healthy carbs, potassium, and fibers that slow down the absorption of sugar. With the protein powder you get your easy to digest and complete proteins that also contains many minerals and vitamin to help you recover even better.

        What you can add for extra hydration:

  • Orange/mango/pineapple juice will also bring you Vitamin C and extra sweetness
  • You can also use coconut water instead of the plant based milk to rehydrate with super low calories.

        What you can add for healthy fats:

  • 1 tbsp of organic peanut/almond butter
  • Some coconut oil
  • Hemp seeds (that are easier to absorb when ground)

If you have enough time you can also make a nice smoothie bowl with all the toppings and healthy granola (I plan on giving you a recipe that isn't full of sugar soon here).

        What you can add for extra taste and fun:

  • All the fruits you want
  • You can also make a nice acai smoothie with an unsweetened acai pack and some tropical fruits
  • You can add some dates for a sweeter taste

But in general I would say to limit syrups and sugars because you don't want to ruin all the benefits of your workout, but the important part is to have some pleasure and not see health as an annoying thing ;)!

 

        Other options if you don't have a lot of time are:

  • Hummus with whole grain pita and veggies
  • Homemade oatmeal with bananas and protein powder

 

 

 

     If I have more time - Macro bowls

 Vegan burger, greens, avo and pico de gallo...  add healthy carbs  like sweet potatoes, potatoes, grains, multi-grain bread, ... To this meal  to make it a healthy macro bowl  :)

Vegan burger, greens, avo and pico de gallo... add healthy carbs like sweet potatoes, potatoes, grains, multi-grain bread, ... To this meal to make it a healthy macro bowl :)

 

        You can read my article about macro bowls here. They are a great lunch or dinner option after working out: they are filling and satisfying when you probably are very hungry after pushing yourself, so you don't eat something that would ruin all your efforts because of frustration; they have a great carbs/proteins/fats ratio that will give you what you exactly need for recovery. The only problem is that it can take a little time to cook it, so I recommend to prepare it before your workout to have the maximum benefits and not have to wait before eating.

 

        Other good options if you have enough time are:

  • Wholegrain toast with avocado, grilled tofu and sprouts
  • Healthy quinoa salad
  • Rice and beans (use spices for taste!)
  • Lentil and sweet potato stew

 

 

Follow me on BlogLovin'

 
Follow

The Best Acai Bowl in Miami

 

One of my favorite food to have when it's hot is acaï bowl, but I sometimes get disappointed if it's not good enough compared to the few great ones I had traveling. So as I came to Miami for a few days, I wanted to check out the best Acai Bowl places in town and make my own review so I know where to come back next time. Overall I didn't have a bad experience in any of the places, but some were really standing out for my taste.

 

4. Lilikoi organic living

 

This place is a mix between modern and cute with loads of white and pop colors mixed with old-looking wood. They have a lot of indoor and outdoor seating which is nice when you want to eat there as in some places you can't find a seat once your food is ready. I love the fact that they choose local and organic ingredients for their menu and that they don't add unnecessary ingredients like sugar. The food isn't tasting extraordinary but it's nice, healthy and they have many choices and vegan and gluten free options. The downside is that it's a little pricey.

About the acai bowl: it was good, healthy and satisfying. All what you expect from an acai bowl, with refreshing fruits on top. I liked that the granola was homemade and had mainly toasted oats which makes it lighter on the stomach.

 

LILIKOI ORGANIC LIVING

500 South Pointe Drive, Miami Beach, FL 33139

 

3. DIRT

IMG_2938.JPG

 

Dirt has a very modern atmosphere, a bit like an LA juice bar. They have a nice breakfast and lunch menu and they focus on the quality of the ingredients, the farm-to-counter and "clean eating" so they have a lot of simple but tasty dishes, and they have plenty of vegan, paleo and also gluten free options depending what you eat like. Their bread is pretty good (and it's a french saying that!)

About the acai bowl: a bit sweeter than the other places as they mix it with mango and 1/2 a bulletproof ball, and they add less fresh fruits on top so it felt more like a yummy dessert than a breakfast. Their granola was the best because it had chunks of chocolate which added to the dessert-like side. if you have a sweet tooth but you want to make the healthy choice, this is your place!

 

DIRT

232 5th Street, Miami Beach, FL 33139

 

2. Pura Vida

IMG_2956.JPG
IMG_2954.JPG

 

To be honest, when going to Pura Vida I was expecting something that would be good but not amazing, thinking it would be just "another juice bar" with a few simple OK meals. I was happily surprised by the quality of the food (I tested two other things on the menu with my acai bowl) as their hummus is homemade, the food is fresh and tasty, and I also liked their portion sizes that are big enough to satisfy you. Not everything is vegan in the menu, but there are plenty of options, such as salads, grain bowls and wraps.

About the acai bowl: I loved the taste that wasn't too sweet so it felt refreshing, especially good when the weather is hot. It has more fresh fruits on top than the other places and also mangoes instead of just strawberries and bananas, which I like for the same reason: I feel it more refreshing to have more fresh fruits than sugary granola (even if I LOVE granola!). The granola is simple and nice, and they also have nice coconut shaving. It was overall very very satisfying and refreshing.

 

PURA VIDA

110 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139

 

1. Under The Mango tree

IMG_2932.JPG

 

This place is my favorite! It feels like a hidden gem as it's a very small shop, with a small sign and you don't expect to find what is behind the door: a very cute place, decorated more simply and less modern than all the other places. It feels more authentic. They are acai/smoothies/juices oriented but have a few other things on their menu. But I would come here only for the delicious juices (I had a mango juice that was so refreshing I though they mixed some melon in it, but nope) and the bowls, because sometimes it's all you need.

About the acai bowl: of course it's my favorite one out of the 4 places I tested. I went 2 times and tested the classic acai bowl and the superfood acai bowl. The acai tastes more like cold acai puree than "ice cream" and you feel that it was made with very riped bananas, which I found so comforting as I love this satisfying texture. It's the perfect guilt free treat to me, naturally sugary and comforting but healthy. The granola wasn't my favorite one but I liked it and the bananas are ripe like I like them! I loved the superfood one because the few goji berries felt sticky under the tooth, like a candy. It's not 100% plant based as there is honey but you can ask without it if you want.

 

UNDER THE MANGO TREE

714 6th Street, Miami Beach, FL 33139

 

Follow me on Bloglovin'

 
Follow

Food in Paris - Sol Semilla

IMG_9269.JPG

When it comes to testing new restaurants, it's always hard for me to just do a search and read the ratings on the internet, because often it doesn't correspond to what I will actually like. I prefer to have a friend's recommendation since they know my taste better and I know from their own taste if what they like will also please me. Thankfully I have a great roommate in Paris who shares my love for healthy food, and she is the one who told me about Sol Semilla. This restaurant is not only entirely vegan but also organic and focuses on superfood from Amazonia, where the chef is from. The concept is simple, there are a few choices on the menu; soups and raw plates, but the most popular and great to discover this cuisine is the daily plate, changed every day and cooked with local and in season ingredients.

The plate has everything you need to be healthy: raw vegetables, cooked vegetables, grains, and legumes. But the way it is cooked and the different textures are beyond satisfying! I was really amazed by how much flavor every bite had, very sophisticated and comforting at the same time. Eating at Sol Semilla made me want to learn how to cook better to be able to share these flavors. Their desserts are great if you don't like too sweet foods and are sensitive to subtle flavors. Some of them reminded me of baby food (in a good way!), but I didn't test the cakes yet. I also tried 2 of their drinks as I went there 2 times, a plant-based milk with herbs which was subtly sweet, and one with raw cacao and chili, which was both boosting and comforting.

IMG_9268.JPG

The restaurant becomes quickly very busy as it is pretty popular, but the staff is very friendly and the atmosphere of the place is really pleasant and cosy (there even is a cat !) so I didn't mind to wait a little more in between the main course and the dessert. To be honest, I don't think Sol Semilla is the best place to bring someone who isn't used to eat healthy and plant based as it really pushes down that way, but for all those who already walk this path it definitely is a place to go. I will go back for sure, glad to add it to my favorite restaurants list. The address is 23 rue des Vinaigriers in the 10th arrondissement, super close to the Canal St Martin.

New Year's Detox

Why A detox?

There is no wonder why detoxes are popular; the toxins from pollution, heavy processed foods and chemicals are everywhere in our lives. Usually, our liver, kidneys, lymphatic system and digestive system do the flushing process, but only up to a point and too many toxins make it hard for the body to eliminate. If like many people during the holidays you ate more heavy foods and alcohol, you might feel like you need to put your counter back to zero. A detox makes your body focus on assimilating the nutrients it needs and healing, and helps to feel more energized, have a better skin and mental clarity.

Detox doesn't mean deprivation

You want to eat natural foods with fibers and water that are easy to digest to cleanse your organism and rest your digestive system. So obviously no refined sugars and greasy foods but it doesn't mean you have to eat small. You should eat until you're not feeling hungry anymore, but slowly and take your time to chew. It has to stay a relaxing moment and not a negative experience. Some people like to do a juice cleanse but others might feel pretty tired afterward which can be counterproductive.

FullSizeRender.jpg

The 7 day detox plan

This classic detox focuses on only fresh fruits and vegetables the 3 first days and then reintroduces slowly all food types not to stress your organism, and continue detoxing slowly. If the original plan seems too harsh for you or if you are not on vacations and need more energy, you can also simply chose to only eat like the 5, 6 and 7 days for a week: fruits and veggies but also grains, legumes and a healthy source of fat, cooked healthily. Please note that I am not a doctor and that I choose to follow a plant-based diet, so feel free to adapt the plan depending on your needs and medical conditions. After that week, go back to a "normal" way of eating, but the best is to keep up with as many unprocessed foods as possible and include foods high in fibers, which are good to fight heart diseases and increase your general health.

Start every day with the famous glass of warm water and lemon juice as it helps to boost the immune system and cleanse the liver. And try to drink around 2-3L of water and herbal tea a day (maybe more if you exercise a lot) because liquids are an important part of the flushing process. Also add as many herbs, sprouts, and spices (such as coriander, mint, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, ...) as you want to adjust to your taste. Of course, choosing organic products is important as pesticides are toxins.

  • Day 1&2:

Eat only fresh fruits in abundance. You can also make smoothies and include leafy greens, as long as you don't add nuts or milk. Fruits are full of fibers and vitamins and very easy to digest. If you want to only drink fresh juices the first day, remember to include more vegetables than fruits to your juices to keep a stable blood sugar level, since you remove the fibers (that help digest slower) when you juice.

  • Day 3:

Eat fresh fruits in the morning and make raw salads with vegetables and leafy greens for lunch and dinner. If raw vegetables are harder to digest for you, then go ahead and steam, boil or grill them in the oven without adding unhealthy fats. Eating raw helps to keep all the vitamins intact, but listen to your body and do what is the most comfortable for you.

  • Day 4:

Follow the same plan for the morning and lunch, but add cooked vegetables and a portion of cooked grains to your dinner. You can choose quinoa, steel cut oatmeal or brown rice. Grains are a great source of carbohydrates and help to feel full without being too heavy on the stomach.

  • Day 5:

This time you want to introduce a healthy source of proteins to your dinner, such as beans, chickpeas or lentils. Full of iron, fibers and antioxidants, beans help you feel full longer while nourishing your body.

  • Day 6&7:

The last two days you still want to eat really clean but add also healthy fats to your diet: avocado, seeds, and nuts (raw and unsalted !). They are important for the skin, brain and heart function as well as the immune system. Note that for some people, mixing fruits and fats makes it hard to digest as these two types of food digest at a different speed. The best would be to eat your fresh fruits always before the fats. You should also add fermented foods to your diet or take probiotics as it's essential for a good digestive health.

FullSizeRender.jpg
IMG_4613.JPG

High Carb Low Fat

As I mentioned it before, I tend to eat a high carb low fat (HCLF) diet. I don't really believe in being too strict regarding food, and of course I don't measure exactly my macro proportion, but this is the way of eating that makes me feel best energy wise and health wise. I don't think it's the only way to eat healthy at all, I have friends following a high fat and low carb diet who are really happy about it. But I really wanted to talk about HCLF because it took me some time to find my balance and I think it's important to talk about how carbs are important for the body and that they aren't bad for you.

What is HCLF ?

So as you probably guessed, this diet is supposed to include more carbs than fats and proteins. A good ratio should be around 80% of carbs, 10% of proteins and 10% of fats (and obviously including greens), but some people go towards 90-5-5. It is also important to get enough calories so you reach a correct amount of fats and proteins which are necessary to stay healthy. It's about giving your body the amount it needs in proteins (generally to be healthy the human body needs 1g of proteins per Kg of body weight) and fats (healthy fats are very important for many body and mind functions, a good level of hormones, and also skin, nails and hair), and eat greens, and unprocessed carbs in abundance (if you only eat processed foods, it won't make you feel good nor be healthy even following a HCLF routine).

Why did I chose this way of eating ?

I used to think a high carb diet would make anyone fat and that it wasn't really necessary to eat carbs because they don't bring you anything. Because if I looked around me, the low carbs meals and diets were way more "popular", and everyone spreads the word that carbs are somehow bad for you. But when I read about a plant based and high carb low fat way of eating, it made me want to try it because it seemed that it would be more satisfying as generally carb foods are less calorie dense than fat food (just compare 100g of nuts and 100g of fruits, or even rice for example). I also have a lot more energy after eating carbs than after eating fats, that tends to take a lot longer to digest and feels heavier on the stomach. For me it's the way of eating that brings together health, satisfaction and wellbeing. I obviously don't eat HCLF every single day, but I generally don't feel as good when I don't. This way of eating isn't for everybody and some people can't eat larger quantities, therefore to have enough nutrients they must eat more calorie dense foods, some people will also feel better eating a higher percentage of fats. I think it's about finding what makes you feel good in your own body and skin.

image.jpg

Why Carbs won't make you fat

Let's get a little precise here as you need to understand what are carbs and what happens when you eat them. Carbs are the most essential source of energy for your cells (especially brain cells !), they will use other substances for fuel only in case of carb deprivation. Most of it will be metabolized (broken) into glucose and used right away by the cells as it's the nutrients they need. Note that carbs in lower glycemic food are broken into glucose molecules more slowly so it provides a more regular source of energy for the cells. The extra glucose available is stored as glycogen so it can be used anytime when you need energy. The only reason why one gets fat eating many carbs is by staying sedentary and also by eating big amounts of higher glycemic food, as the storage for glycogen is limited and the rest will be changed into fat (I could write more about this and also the role of insulin but let's stay simple for now).

So, if you exercise regularly, don't worry about getting fat under a HCLF diet. Remember that you need to feed your cells, so eat unprocessed carbs and exercise, this is the key.

 Recipe for this one  here

Recipe for this one here

How to keep cool during summer

90°F (32°C) and above is the average temperature during summer in NYC, and I know we're not the only ones to suffer from the summer heat. I do love summer and the sun, but if I don't have a pool to cool down next to me at any minute, I can become unproductive and feel a little dizzy.

So how to cool down for a while ? I tried cold showers, and it feels great for a short time but the feeling doesn't last long enough for me, and air conditioning is nice, but ecologically-wise we know we can do better. The thing that really works for me is banana "ice cream" and frozen smoothie bowls. Why is it better than classic ice cream ? Because as it isn't loaded with sugar and preservatives, and it's full of natural ingredients (if you make it right), you can really eat a full bowl of it ! And believe me, you do end up shaking and covered in goosebumps. After that, the heat feels necessary and not "too much" anymore, and personally, depending on how much I have, this feeling lasts a good half an hour (even more if I'm indoors and I can't warm up quickly).

I tried different simple combinations that change from the classic banana and plant based milk. If you want more of the cold effect, try and top your bowl with frozen berries. When I do so my lips turn blue, which goes away quickly in the sun (but don't do it during winter - I'm speaking from experience).

 

Mango matcha "nicecream"

image1 copy 4.JPG

Ingredients :

  • 1 cup frozen mango chunks
  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 1/2 cup plant based milk
  • 2 teaspoon of matcha powder (adjust to your taste)

 

Coffee "nicecream"

Toppings :

  • 1 kiwi
  • Pumpkin seeds

Ingredients :

  • 3 frozen bananas
  • 1/4 cup plant based milk
  • 1 expresso (or 1/4 cup of coffee, as strong as you like)

 

Simple Acai Bowl

Toppings :

  • 2 dried figs
  • flaked almonds
image1 copy 5.JPG

Ingredients :

  • 1 pack of frozen acai
  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 1 cup frozen mango chunks
  • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries

Toppings :

  • 2-3 tbsp granola
  • Fresh strawberries
  • You can add some tahini if you like
 

Juices VS Smoothies

About 2 years ago I was kind of obsessed with juices and wanted to start almost all my days with a great vitamin-energy packed juice. Today, I am more into smoothies than juices and I only drink once in a while. Why is that ? Well, during that time I read and educated myself more about food in general, especially about fibers and sugar absorption. Both juicing and blending have their pros and cons, but I saw that smoothies were more adapted to what I like and want. Here are the main differences between them :

Smoothies

Blending pulverizes the whole fruits and vegetables into a smoothie.

  • You keep the fibers which help keeping your digestive system healthy.
  • It makes the sugar absorption slower and more even.
  • It still makes the digestion and absorption of nutrients quicker than entire fruits or vegetables since the fiber is broken apart.
  • It keeps you full longer than a juice.
  • Some nutrients may be harder to absorb and stay in the fibers.
  • For the same amount of fruits and veggies, a smoothie will have a bigger volume so you tend to have fewer servings of fruits/veggies in a smoothie and fewer nutrients.

Juices

Juicing removes the pulp/fibers and keeps the nutrients and the water.

  • Removing the fibers makes it a lot faster to digest and helps absorbing all the nutrients.
  • You can juice a big quantity of vegetables and have all the nutrients from them in only one juice and therefore absorb all the vitamins that you would have not eaten otherwise.
  • It gives some rest to the digestive system.
  • The sugar from fruits is absorbed also very quickly since the fibers are removed.
  • If you juice mostly fruits it can give you unstable sugar levels and all the side effects that come with it such as mood/energy swings.
  • You can get hungry again faster.

 

In both cases it's important to drink it quickly after it's made because the vitamins will disappear quickly. It's also important to use the right appliances to make them : if you want to make juices, it's better to use a juice extractor than a centrifugal juicer that will make vitamins disappear because of the heat. In the end, it's up to you. It's more about educating yourself about what you eat and know what food can be better for what reason. I think juices are great if you do green juices with a lot of veggies (so not too much sugar), if you need a big vitamin boost or a deep detox and rest your body/digestive system with a cleanse (but I'm not so much into juice cleanses, since they can be restrictive, it all depends on how it is done and for how long). Also simply if you prefer juices to smoothies, life is short so drink what you love ! I'm personally more into smoothies now because they are more filling while still packing many nutrients. Also because I can add healthy fats such as flaxseeds, nuts or avocado, and protein powders or plant based milks, which you can't juice.

I generally make only fruit smoothies with my favorite fruits, because I always have fruits at home and I don't plan my meals well in advance, but sometimes I'll adapt the recipe depending on what I need : energy boost to start a long day or exercise, refreshing but light if I only want the good taste without the calories, anti-inflammatory or detox... I have here 4 different examples of smoothies that are great to try depending on what you need.

Green detox

I like this kind of green smoothie if I have a hungover, for example. It's detoxing, the very watery fruits are hydrating and it brings all the good nutrients. Pineapple and kiwi are loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants that are great for the immune system, which may be a little fragile after drinking alcohol.

  • 2 cups spinach (or your favorite leafy green)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 green apple
  • 2 kiwis
  • 1 cup fresh chopped pineapple
  • You could add 1/4 avocado to for the healthy fats and a smooth texture

It's funny because I found the taste quite good, not too sweet and a little acid, but without the taste of spinach. But I made my mom try it and she wasn't fond of it. I think it's also because my taste changed slightly since I started eating healthier : I crave less sugary taste except for fruits, for example. If it isn't your case, you can always add natural healthy sweeteners to your smoothies such as ripe bananas, dates, agave syrup, maple syrup... And remember not to force yourself to eat/drink something that you really don't like just because it is supposed to be healthy. There are healthy alternatives for everyone's taste !

RED refresh

I actually realize it looks like one smoothie I wrote about in the past. I think it's because I love raspberries so much and that I like to keep food simple. I also think organic berries should be often present in a healthy diet because of all the great nutrients they have. This one is really easy to digest as it only contains fruits and leafy greens (mixing fats and fruits can be hard to digest for some people), hydrating and good to cool down during summer. It's also full of antioxidants thanks to the berries.

  • 1 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 handful spinach
  • 1 squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup water

Again, you may want to add more ingredients for a sweeter taste if you crave something more sugary while having the refreshing taste of berries. What I like in this smoothie is that it's super light so it's great as a little snack.

Vitamin C power

This one is a great concentrate of anti-inflammatory and vitamins, great if you're sick or if you want a little boost.

  • The juice of 4-5 carrots
  • 1 big orange (or 2 small)
  • 1 small piece of ginger
  • 1 small tea spoon of turmeric powder

The beta-carotene from the carrots is great when it comes to skin, but I also think the taste goes great with oranges. I chose to take only the juice from the carrots because they have a lot of fibers. And I don't think it's a vegetable that is good for smoothies. It's obviously better if you juice it yourself right before, if you can. The orange is loaded with vitamin C which gives the little energy boost we all need instead of taking supplements. The ginger and turmeric have great anti-inflammatory properties, actually turmeric is well known to be one of the best natural anti-inflammatory ingredients. Warning : it may taste weird for you at first because the ginger is really strong and the turmeric is a spice. I kind of like to try "weird taste" food, but if it's not your case you can try and adjust the taste taking out/adding ingredients. Start with a good orange-carrot juice/smoothie that many people love, and later you can try adding ginger and turmeric.

Healthy nutty energy

Good if you need energy for a longer time, if you want something that tastes less fruity and more sweet, to get some healthy fats for your skin, if you don't eat enough proteins or if you want to build more muscle.

  • 2 bananas
  • 1 cup plant based milk
  • 1 scoop vegan protein powder
  • 1 tbsp almond butter (or your choice of nut butter)
  • 1 tea spoon cocoa powder

I talked about the benefits of bananas here. The protein powder (I used Pulsin brown rice powder) isn't necessary if you don't want to build more muscle and if you eat a balanced diet, but for example there are days when I'll eat less food providing proteins because I feel like something else and it can be useful. I feel like it brings a little earthy taste that I kind of like. Almond butter is my favorite nut butter because I find it less thick. It's very important to choose a healthy nut butter : the less ingredients, the better. I chose one (french brand Jean Hervé because I am in France right now) with only complete almonds and it's perfect. Nut butter will give you healthy fats, and different important nutrients that you don't find in fruits, one of them is zinc that is a very important nutrient for a healthy skin, and also a little bit of proteins. I like the little spoon of cocoa powder because it makes the whole thing taste more like a dessert, but if you don't like this is optional. I find the taste super sweet like this without adding any other sweet ingredients because I always use very ripe bananas.